OWINGS MILLS, Md. - Ravens running back Ray Rice has been suspended for the first two games of the NFL season and fined an additional game check for conduct detrimental to the league in violation of the league’s Personal Conduct Policy for his February arrest for assault.
At training camp, Coach John Harbaugh said "He makes a mistake. He's going to have to pay a consequence. I think that's good for kids to understand it works that way. That's how it works, that's how it should be."
Rice was approved for the pre-trial intervention program of New Jersey following charges of assaulting his then-girlfriend – and now wife Janay – in an Atlantic City hotel, over Valentine’s Day weekend.
Criminal charges against Rice will be dismissed if he successfully completes the program.
Some fans think the League's penalty doesn't go far enough.
"I don't think he should be necessarily kicked off the team, but I think a harsher punishment should have been in place," said Ravens fan Ashley Wilson.
Rice reacted through a written statement.
“It is disappointing that I will not be with my teammates for the first two games of the season, but that’s my fault," said Rice. "As I said earlier, I failed in many ways. But, Janay and I have learned from this. We have become better as a couple and as parents. I am better because of everything we have experienced since that night. The counseling has helped tremendously.
“My goal is to earn back the trust of the people, especially the children, I let down because of this incident. I am a role model and I take that responsibility seriously. My actions going forward will show that.”
Rice and his now-wife were both charged with simple assault and a disorderly person offense.
Rice pleaded not guilty on May 1 , the same day he submitted his application for the intervention program.
The program is applicable to first-time offenders accused of fourth or third degree crimes, the release states.
Since being approved for the pre-trial intervention program, Rice apologized to fans during a May press conference. Getting Rice’s status clarified answers one of many questions for the team heading into training camp, which opened this week.
Rice was one of five Ravens arrested during the offseason.
“We appreciate the thorough process the league office used to evaluate the incident with Ray Rice," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. "The time the Commissioner spent with Ray and Janay is typical of the extra steps the NFL takes when making decisions regarding discipline issues. While not having Ray for the first two games is significant to our team, we respect the league’s decision and believe it is fair.
“We also respect the efforts Ray has made to become the best partner and father he can be. That night was not typical of the Ray Rice we know and respect. We believe that he will not let that one night define who he is, and he is determined to make sure something like this never happens again.”
In a letter to Rice, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote the following:
“As you acknowledged during our meeting, your conduct was unquestionably inconsistent with league polices and the standard of behavior required of everyone who is part of the NFL. The league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others or reflects negatively on our game. This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.
“You will be expected to continue to take advantage of the counseling and other professional services you identified during our meeting. As you noted, this additional assistance has been of significant benefit to you and your wife, and it should remain a part of your practice as appropriate.
“I believe that you are sincere in your desire to learn from this matter and move forward toward a healthy relationship and successful career. I am now focused on your actions and expect you to demonstrate by those actions that you are prepared to fulfill those expectations.”
Rice’s suspension will begin on Aug. 30. He will be eligible for reinstatement on Monday, Sept. 12 following the Ravens’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rice may participate in all aspects of training camp and preseason games.
Rice may appeal this decision within three days.
Stay with ABC2 News for additional details.